Villa escapes action over 'slap'

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Spain striker David Villa has escaped punishment for striking Honduras defender Emilio Izaguirre on Monday night.

The new Barcelona recruit scored twice in the match to secure a 2-0 victory for the European champions but was captured on camera hitting out at Izaguirre as the pair waited for a set-piece to be taken late in the first half.

Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura took no action at the time and a spokesman for FIFA said today: "The disciplinary committee of FIFA have examined the situation and have found no grounds to open a case against David Villa."

That leaves the star striker free to play in his team's vital third Group H match against Chile.

FIFA are unlikely to take any action against France captain Patrice Evra, who missed his team's official pre-match press conference before the game against South Africa in Bloemfontein.

They also confirmed they have not started proceedings against France coach Raymond Domenech for his refusal to shake hands with his South Africa counterpart Carlos Alberto Parreira after the game.

FIFA had no comment to make today on reports Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss swore at and threatened to punch a journalist during a briefing yesterday. The briefing was not an official FIFA briefing, so there was no immediate reaction from the world governing body to the alleged incident.

Local organising committee spokesman Jermaine Craig said South Africa was "out, but not down" after their victory over Les Bleus yesterday was not quite enough for them to reach the knockout phase.

He was confident the host nation would continue to get behind all the teams and expected any African sides who are able to make it through the group stage to be particularly well supported.

Craig said: "It was great to see the home team going out on a high. Drawing against Mexico and winning against France was certainly a good result, but unfortunately the aberration against Uruguay knocked the team out.

"But the way the country got behind the home team yesterday has shown that Africa is still very much behind this tournament, the enthusiasm from everyone after the game and the way they have responded to all the other games in the tournament augurs well for what remains.

"It is difficult to say which is South Africa's second team. The country has got behind the teams, but in terms of national and continental solidarity it has been great to see supporters behind the African teams.

"If the Ghanaians are able to get through (against Germany) tonight I think that will undoubtedly be one of South Africa's second teams. One great thing about South Africa is the massive immigrant population - we have a massive Portuguese population, a massive Italian community, but I think if Ghana get through tonight you will see a lot of Black Stars fans out there tomorrow."